Mina Malik-Hussain

  • Ever noticed how swear words are mostly designed to imply harm done to women? The most potent, nasty curse-words have nothing to do with the person in question, but a female relative of theirs who (in all likelihood) has nothing to do with the quarrel. Cursing is also seen as the exclusive province ...

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  • I’ve been the mother of girls longer than of a boy, and being the mother of both continues to be an edifying experience. It makes me notice how people are raising both genders, particularly the boys (because people love to hassle me about the imaginary trials of raising a boy with several ...

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  • Hugh Hefner died last week. For the uninitiated, Hefner is most famous for starting the smutty adult magazine, Playboy. Because the magazine also featured some writing by now-famous authors, Playboy and its readers could claim that the magazine was more than just racy photos of women, a kind of ...

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  • The very beautiful Mahira Khan has been “caught” by some nosey parker smoking a cigarette with an Indian actor in New York recently. They both look rumpled and tired, as one is when you’re probably jetlagged and exhausted. You can’t smoke inside most places in America now, ...

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  • I love me some sports-bonding, whether it’s on a school team or a national sport. There’s something so uplifting and joyous about bonding with strangers over one shared interest, however fleeting: your team. Everyone is hunched over, anxiously watching the players, when it gets tense. ...

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  • As a society, you’d think that by now we would have moved on beyond certain basic prejudices—the earth is round, using a scissor during an eclipse won’t jinx an unborn baby, drinking water with your left hand holding the glass won’t send you to hell. We’re meant to be ...

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  • An appalling video is doing the rounds of the internet this week: a little girl, probably four, is being filmed on a cell phone camera by her mother who is doing lessons with her. Basic ones, alphabets and numbers (the child is very young, after all). The child gets it wrong, and her ...

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  • Each year one writes a column hoping Things Will Change, and that’s one rather endearing trait we embody: hope. But sometimes one just throws down the gauntlet, and here’s what I propose, by way of challenge: let’s spend this splendid seventieth year of Pakistan being less. Less ...

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  • Here we go around the mulberry bush, again. Our little universe has been shaken by all the political brouhaha that came to a boil last week, and now another kettle has whistled; an allegation of sexual harassment. This being good old sexist Pakistan, naturally the internet exploded in a fiery ball ...

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  • I have devised a test that separates the wheat (wholesome, pukka, excellent) from the chaff (redundant useless fluff), and I’m calling it the Makhan Test: right this minute, do you know whether there is butter in your fridge, or not? If you do, then you’ve passed and you can carry on to ...

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  • I was recently at a symposium where there was much talk about bringing women into the workforce, and wondering why there aren’t as many women who work out there. Most of the head-scratching was being done by men. Later on I had a chat with one of the few married working women in the audience ...

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  • The singularly most tedious thing to be told, other than “we don’t have this in your size”, is “chill out”. The phrase is never offered when you actually need it, or accompanied by an enormous ice-cream cone, but, without fail, when one is riled up about something. In ...

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  • There is a national crisis upon us, one that everyone has suffered from no matter what: the National Name Disease. There isn’t a woman, man or child alive who hasn’t been touched by the loath malady. There are many amongst us who suffer from it and refuse to be treated. The dread NND ...

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  • I recently had the dubious privilege of having a conversation with someone living abroad about migrants and taxation. They were grousing about all the refugees who had arrived in their country, taking welfare money and living the good life on it. Ironically, the person I was talking to was South ...

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  • Eid mubarik, readers all. As usual the last ten days of Ramzan seem to bring all kinds of difficult events—people pass on, accidents and grievous harm, that make each Eid also a time for serious reflection on the many blessings we enjoy. But it also had Momina Mustehsan, singer and celebrity, ...

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  • Have you ever wondered where the pedestrians have gone? In most urban places one goes, the only people walking are the ones who are rushing across the road, jaywalking like rebels in the shadow of the overhead walkways. It’s no coincidence that you can’t really walk anywhere even if you ...

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  • Let’s talk about a girl, this week. Early twenties, studying to be a lawyer in a co-ed law school. Bright, pretty, maybe she makes friends easily. Like all friendships forged in first years of college, many fizzle out as one makes new friends or discovers some friends aren’t such a good ...

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  • My partner was away on a course recently, for a month. Before he left many friends jokingly asked if I had given him a few pep talks before he left, sorted him out. Needless to say, I had not been aware that my partner needed ‘sorting out’, and did not give him any kind of advisory ...

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  • Ramzan has begun, and with it comes another reason why religion really should never be the business of the state: the Ehteram-e-Ramzan Bill. Originally an ordinance passed in 1981, our obviously quite under-occupied Senate has turned a five hundred rupee fine into a twenty-five to fifty thousand ...

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  • I recently read about how a woman decided to respond to men’s compliments online with an affirmative. On the dating site Tinder, people approach each other through text after seeing if their profiles are compatible, so this woman would get many men complimenting her. Someone said “you ...

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  • Ah, the ads. It’s always the ads. Many people feel like it’s making a mountain out of a molehill to be critical of advertisements—they are just ways to advertise a product, it’s not meant to be taken seriously, etcetera, infinity. Only it’s never “just” ...

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  • This week I am sorely disappointed. Another one of my dreams has bit the dust and it is really quite tragic indeed. The only thing that redeems the situation is that our government obviously watches a lot of spy movies, because the Senate has squashed a proposal to allow foreigners married to ...

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  • The singularly worst thing to come of modern technology, for the parent, is the internet. Some days I think of my offline childhood and long for those simple days where we only had pirated Radio City VHS tapes of Disney cartoons my grandmother would bring us back from her visits to Karachi, and all ...

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  • Notes from the Underground is in Berlin, and back home Mashal Khan is dead. I am in a city with a dreadful past. Berlin is one of the most important cities in the world, host to philosophers and writers, melting pot of ideas and culture. And yet it is also the city cut in two by opposing ...

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  • As a teacher when I talk to other educators the main reason we often shake our heads and sigh is obviously our students. Teachers are in a unique position of privilege- we see our class almost every day, we know their faces and personalities, their anxieties, the way they interact with their peers. ...

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  • When I was a new mother, I would be at the paediatrician’s every month either for a vaccination or a well-baby visit (don’t ask—the over-indulgences of new parents) or a worry-visit (the kind where you think it’s not a big deal but the baby’s grandparent makes you ...

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  • These days one is sitting in the afterglow of revisiting an old childhood classic, Beauty and the Beast. A live-action film has recently been released, with real actors. It’s a darker, more modern take on the cartoon and as an adult viewer, you see things differently. The biggest musing is of ...

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  • Ever catch yourself standing on a stool, dusting the tops of your bookshelves with those multi-coloured feathery dusters, and wondering why on earth you were doing it? What relevance a clean top-of-a-bookcase has to your life, well-being or mental health? Especially when it’s a high bookcase ...

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  • When I was small I remember the help never sat on the furniture. They would take their shoes off outside the door before they entered a room and would then either remain standing, squat or sit on the floor to speak to my grandmother or whoever it was. The old-school kind of help were for life, so ...

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  • With International Women’s Day on the horizon, it’s only relevant that this, a feminist-activist kind of column, note with pleasure the advertisements for Gul Ahmed floating around these days. It’s refreshing to see popular culture bearing messages of confidence. Be who you are, ...

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